"World War Z" (PG-13, 116 minutes, Paramount): Surprisingly entertaining, even fitfully exciting, the film is primarily an exercise in expectation management. Forget those trailers suggesting a rock 'em, sock 'em, blow-it-all-up extravaganza or a Grand Guignol of cannibalistic, face-eating zombies. Instead, be prepared for a relatively grown-up, modestly intelligent and refreshingly un-bombastic thriller that owes as much to medical tick-tocks such as "Outbreak" and "Contagion" as it does to "28 Days Later" and the seminal works of George Romero. Anchored by a solid lead performance by Brad Pitt, who plays a happy Philadelphia househusband pulled back into his old profession of U.N. investigator when a zombie apocalypse threatens to destroy the world, "World War Z" may not break new ground in either of the genres it straddles. But it deserves a certain amount of credit for refusing to buy into the current cinematic arms race in Biggest, Loudest and Dumbest. Contains intense, frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images. Extras include unrated cut; behind-the-scenes featurette; zombies in literature and film; and a four-part "WWZ: Production" featurette focusing on the first attack in Philadelphia, the escape in South Korea, the pivotal Jerusalem scene and the final zombie confrontation. Also available in 3-D.
"Disconnect" (R, 115 minutes, Lionsgate): This absorbing film is an of-the-moment tragedy of manners, a cautionary tale of the Internet age centered on occasionally intersecting story lines that finally culminate in dramatic individual catharses, each staged with melodramatic, too-tidy overstatement; in short, a computer "Crash." That it shares such significant DNA with the 2004 Oscar winner is a good-news, bad-news proposition. Screenwriter Andrew Stern and director Henry Alex Rubin have crafted a smart, engaging film that instantly draws viewers into its disparate but tenuously related worlds. There's the warrenlike house that serves as headquarters for a pornographic website specializing in underage performers; the pristine suburban home of a teenager who's being bullied online; and the similarly well-appointed environs of a professional couple who are channeling grief over a recent loss by escaping into virtual poker games and chat rooms. It comes as no surprise when some of these vignettes end in tears, and Rubin loses his heretofore sure footing with an overwrought, slow-mo climax that takes the film from a convincing, atmospheric thriller into eye-roll-inducing soap opera. Still, as a present-day problem picture, "Disconnect" takes its deserved place within a time-honored genre. Contains sexual content, some graphic nudity, profanity, violence and drug use -- some involving teens. Extras: making-of featurette, commentary with Rubin.
"The East" (PG-13, 116 minutes, Fox): As a scriptwriter, actress Brit Marling ("Another Earth," "Sound of My Voice") has so far demonstrated an unerring instinct for creating meaty, if somewhat hard-to-swallow, roles for herself. In "The East," the actress-writer-producer reunites with Zal Batmanglij, her director and co-writer on "Sound of My Voice," for another fascinating assignment. Here, she plays a private investigator who, while going undercover to flush out the members of an anti-corporate anarchist collective, experiences something akin to Stockholm syndrome. The difference is she's not a hostage bonding with her captors, but a rat who gradually starts to sympathize with those she's paid to rat on. As usual, Marling is a pleasure to watch for the psychological complexity and contradictions of her character. She plays Jane, or "Sarah" as she's known to the members of the East, the eco-terrorist cell that her employer (Patricia Clarkson) asks her to infiltrate after a number of embarrassingly high-profile incidents meant to expose and/or punish people who run companies that pollute, poison or otherwise harm the Earth. Contains some blood and violence, brief nudity and sensuality. Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes "Two Brothers: Collaboration," "Cause and Effect: The Movement of The East" and "Examining the Moral Gray." Also, on Blu-ray: deleted scenes, two story development featurettes and one on casting the film.
"The Bling Ring" (R, 87 minutes, Lionsgate): For all its ripped-from-the-headlines topicality, Sofia Coppola's modern-day cautionary tale about youth run amok still exudes a dreamy, otherworldly perfume. Based on the story of a group of Los Angeles teenagers who cased, then robbed the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities, "The Bling Ring" taps into the same fears and voyeuristic horror that have characterized teen problem pictures throughout the decades: Whether it's motorcycles, street gangs, marijuana or sexuality, there's never been a cultural anxiety that movies couldn't process into alternately lurid and scolding entertainment. Beginning at the end -- with Bling Ring member Nicki (Emma Watson) facing trial and dizzily announcing that her life of crime has been "a huge learning lesson for me" -- the film flashes back to how it all got started in L.A.'s beige, featureless San Fernando Valley. A bored high school student named Rebecca (Katie Chang) meets a misfit new kid named Marc (Israel Broussard), who quickly proves he knows his way around Miu Miu and hair extensions. Soon he's part of Rebecca's posse, which includes Nicki, her sister, Sam (Taissa Farmiga) and Chloe (Claire Julien), all of them schooled in the rhetoric of self-esteem, empowerment and the selfie-centered world of Facebook and its narcissistic satellites. Contains profanity, including some brief sexual references, and teen drug and alcohol use. Extras include making-of featurette, an interview with Nancy Jo Sales, who wrote the Vanity Fair article "The Suspects Wore Louboutins," and "Scene of the Crime with Paris Hilton" featurette.
Also: "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO bio-drama directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, both up for Emmy nominations for their roles as Liberace and his lover), "Greetings From Tim Buckley," "Augustine" (France), "And Now a Word From Our Sponsor," "Shanghai Calling" (U.S./China), "Somebody Up There Likes Me," "Space Junk 3D," "Drift," "Lionhead," "The We and the I ," "In the Fog" (Russia), "The Bruce Lee Legacy Collection" (11-disc Blu-ray/DVD box set, Shout Factory), "A Big Love Story," "Gimme the Loot," "Bless Me, Ultima," "Java Heat" and "War of the Buttons" (France).
Television Series: "Haunted History" (History Channel), "Nashville: The Complete First Season," "The Mentalist: The Complete Fifth Season," "Hawaii Five-0 -- Third Season," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (13th Season)," "Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors" (1967, with Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, BBC), "Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka" (2003, animated, BBC), "The Hollow Crown: The Complete Series," "Grimm: Season Two," "Bates Motel: Season One," "Arrow: The Complete First Season," "Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 8" (2004, BBC), "Fear Files" (2005, History Channel), "Waking The Dead: Season Eight" (BBC) and "Adventure Time: Jake the Dad."